I didn’t do much reading this week, unfortunately, and am only a hundred or so pages into the second volume of Mr. Pickwick’s adventures. But I did go to an estate sale yesterday, and came face to face with Mr. Pickwick himself! Needless to say, I invited him home, and I’m sure he will be the most conscientious of house guests.
Just looking at that cheerful face is enough to make me smile. If only there had been a Sam Weller figure as well – they’re such a great pairing.
And speaking of Sam Weller, I was reading in Forster’s biography that it wasn’t until you introduced him into Pickwick that the story began to gain popularity. As Forster says, “Sam Weller and Mr. Pickwick are the Sancho and the Quixote of Londoners, and as little likely to pass away as the old city itself. ” Apparently, Sam became quite the cultural touchstone, which is interesting because before I began reading Pickwick, I’d never heard of the character. It makes me wonder about the qualities a fictional character must possess in order to withstand changing public tastes. The Victorian creations of Holmes and Watson seem to be more popular than ever, but Pickwick and Weller are, perhaps, too rooted in their time and place to achieve the same kind of immortality (or maybe I live under a rock and their fame simply hasn’t reached me). Of your characters, dear Charles, I’d have to say that Ebenezer Scrooge is the most famous, followed at some distance by Oliver Twist.
Well, I shall continue to read about Mr. Pickwick and his friends as they enjoy the society and sights of Bath, and hope that Pickwick can resolve his ongoing legal dilemmas with his landlady and her avaricious lawyers. And I shall remain